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Synchronous Technology First Blush

Posted in UG/NX, Uncategorized by Administrator on the May 23rd, 2008

Plenty of buzz about Siemens/UGS new synchronous technology. All I can say for the moment is that it will be interesting to watch.

I love UG. It’s where I cut my 3D teeth. Later, I was baptized in fire at Apple, modelling transluscent blue shells for demanding and temperamental industrial designers. For that, UG was the right tool for the job. I also learned Pro/E there, and was a dual-user for a while. Pro/E lets you play doctor, UG lets you play god.

At that time, UG already had a lot of great tools for dealing with unfeatured data. We could (and often did) abandon the feature tree and model exclusively with these tools. UG could also already assimilate “unfeatured” data into its feature tree. For instance, raw “curves in space” could be swept or extruded, then those curves could be brought into a sketch and constrained/parameterized accordingly. Neat stuff.

I could go on. I’ve carved a nice career from SW, but UG still has a siren song.

What it is; how it works

For those who haven’t seen, here are a couple links explaining UG/NX6’s new “synchronous technology”. The video is an attention getter. The PDF white paper provides a more detailed explanation.
Propaganda video
White paper

The video does a great job of showing how synchronous technology should work. Looks slick. I would hope so. That’s what video editor folks are supposed to do. The white paper provides a reasonable explanation of what is happening. Very intriguing. Apparently, the synchronous technology evaluates the model to determine what feature edits it must do in order to change geometry in a certain way. Neat!

We can see how it works. What will prove more interesting is how it doesn’t work. Models and model trees come in all degrees of complexity. Some are complex by necessity. Some are complex due to poor training or bad hiring decisions. In either case, I’m sure it won’t take long before folks are finding the limits of this budding technology.

Bad example, before Bad example, before
What kind of model tree goes from this… …to this???

Here is a good specimen of a bad example. This is an .avi of a really extreme example of poor model tree management. Pure hack-slashery. The video is a series of screen shots as the part feature tree is rolled back and then forward. I would love to see how UG/NX6 handles something like this.

I would also like to see how UG/NX6 handles well-constructed surface modelling. I can’t imagine that synchronous techology has evolved to a point where it could handle a fully-featured model of something complex like an iMac shell or an auto interior console. I do hope it can, but I doubt it.

Your jobs are safe

The CAD users of today are not going to be instantaneously supplanted by an invading army of synchronous-using replacements I also don’t foresee a great improvement in the CAD-user populace. The aces will still be aces. The putzes will still be putzes. There will be a market shift, but there will be no mass-divestment in current parametric modelling technology.